- Associated Press - Monday, October 12, 2015

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Joplin has started to receive reimbursements for debris removal stemming from a massive 2011 tornado that killed 161 people and destroyed thousands of buildings.

The $2.6 million dollar claim to the state of Missouri for debris and concrete removal was recently paid to the city of Joplin, the Joplin Globe reports (https://bit.ly/1VO0WHf ). That begins the process of recouping cleanup and rebuilding costs covered by state and federal agencies and insurance.

Auditors had recommended in a recent report that the city “consider hiring additional staff or reassigning duties of existing staff, and ensure procedures are in place to request reimbursements timely.”

Joplin Finance Director Leslie Haase said the $2.6 million payment was received through Community Development Block Grant funds, a US Department of Housing and Urban Development program. She is currently working on reimbursement claims to be filed with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the State Emergency Management Agency and city insurance.

“This part will take some time,” Haase said. “After the requests are made, I would not be able to estimate how long it would be before reimbursement is received from FEMA and SEMA.”

Haase said the decision was made to have city employees file the claims after they handled other priorities.

The total amount owed by those agencies will not be fully determined until the claims are prepared and submitted, according to Haase. City officials estimate that an additional $8 million needs to be claimed.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com


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